WESTBOROUGH, Mass. — The closed Friendly's restaurant at 303 Turnpike Road in Westborough is slated to become the site of a new banking center.
Pittsfield-based Berkshire Bank announced Wednesday that it has purchased the 5.8-acre tract for $1.65 million. The bank chose the Turnpike Road property because "it is a prominent location very accessible to both business and consumer customers," said Lori Gazzillo, assistant vice president community relations.
Last November, Berkshire recruited a commercial banking team in Westborough that has been "well received," Gazzillo said. Berkshire has more than 60 full-service branches in Massachusetts.
"As customers continue to respond positively to our unique approach to banking and brand we will continue to expand into areas where our talented people have had success in the past," Gazzillo said.
Reaction to the news was mixed. Steve Costanzo of Shrewsbury said there are already banks on every corner.
"I'm sure it will make the area look better," he said, "but I think something should go there that could be more useful than a bank."
Wal-Mart employee John Yost, who is helping to oversee construction of a new Wal-Mart super center in the same plaza, said whatever goes there will improve the area.
"I think it's good that someone's taking over vacant spaces," said Yost, adding that Wal-Mart's construction should be completed by mid-2013. "It's better than looking at abandoned buildings."
The new banking center will include a branch of the bank. The Friendly's closed earlier this year when the restaurant chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Friendly's locations in Shrewsbury and at 93 Turnpike Road closed last year.
Berkshire has not set a date for the start of construction or opening of the banking center.